Overturn Roe? HELL NO! STOP the Supreme Court from Taking Away the Right to Abortion!

Furious, Youthful Outpourings of Protest Rock the Country from Coast to Coast

Where Did this Movement Come From? What Gives It Direction and Focus?

Berkeley students walk out for abortion rights just before final exams.

 

Berkeley students say "F**k you!" to Alito. 1,000 students took to the streets just before final exams—and say they won’t stop until the Supreme Court backs down, May 4, 2022.    Photo: revcom.us

On the night of Monday, May 2, the website Politico posted a leaked draft opinion written by Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito. It indicated that a majority of the court is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, a 49-year-old ruling that legalized abortion throughout the U.S. The impact of the draft, and its leak, stunned tens of millions of people.

Washington, DC, SCOTUS, rally for abortion rights, May 3, 2022.

 

Protest in response to the SCOTUS "leaked" draft opinion calling for overturn of Roe, Washington, DC, May 3, 2022.    Photo: AP

Chicago, students who walked out from DePaul University, marching for abortion rights

 

Chicago, students from DePaul University, May 5, 2022.    Photo: @RiseUp_Chicago

By the end of the week, tens of thousands of people across the country had rallied and marched in opposition to the possible end of legal abortion, and a fierce new movement spearheaded by young women had burst onto the political landscape. Many seemed to be wearing green, especially green bandannas.

Chicago Tribune article with photos of RiseUp4AbortionRights signs.

 

Chicago Tribune news coverage of RiseUp4AbortionRights protest in Daly Plaza, May 3, 2022. Screen grab of Chicago Tribune   

Where did this movement come from? What is giving it direction and focus? What does it aim to accomplish?

 

How Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Got Started

In January 2022, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights was launched. Sunsara Taylor, Lori Sokol, and Merle Hoffman (see box), along with dozens of other initiators from varying backgrounds and experiences, issued a founding statement that declared “WE REFUSE TO LET THE U.S. SUPREME COURT DENY WOMEN’S HUMANITY AND DECIMATE THEIR RIGHTS! ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!” 

 

Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Reading of Call by Chantelle

 

Merle Hoffman is an internationally known leader in the struggle for women’s rights, a healthcare pioneer, founder of women’s health, political, and reproductive rights organizations and a prize-winning writer and publisher. Her work spans 50 years and continues today, proving to be more essential and relevant than ever in the ongoing fight for women’s human rights, including the ability to make their own reproductive choices.

Lori Sokol, PhD, is an award-winning author, entrepreneur, and psychologist, and Executive Director of Women's eNews, a global, non-profit digital news service that provides in-depth coverage of the most crucial issues impacting women and girls around the world.

Sunsara Taylor is the co-host of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show on YouTube and a longtime follower of revolutionary leader Bob Avakian. She has been a leader in the struggle for abortion rights, as part of the fight for the liberation of women—including the Abortion Rights Freedom Rides (which traveled the entire country in the summer of 2013).

In the face of the majority on the Supreme Court openly discussing how they might overturn Roe, the main leaders of the pro-choice movement began leading people to accept this and prepared for a “post-Roe” world. Among those who were paying attention, manymostpeople thought the end of legal abortion was inevitable.

But on January 22the 49th anniversary of Roe v. WadeRise Up 4 Abortion Rights led a small but determined protest on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. They pledged to wage a fight to defeat this fascist assault on women’s right to abortion, and called on everyone who cares about the half of humanity that is female to be in the streets relentlessly, growing a movement of people that would not only oppose these fascists, but also the culture of capitulation that had spread throughout the women’s movement, and was preparing people to accept a post-Roe world. With this powerful statement challenging the status quo, people around the country went to work to organize the first protests on March 8International Women’s Day.

RiseUp4AbortionRights contingent at SCOTUS with banners.

 

Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights contingent in front of the Supreme Court, January 22, 2022, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Photo: Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights   

How This Movement Has Grown

From the beginning, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights has learned from and been inspired by the “Green Wave” of protests demanding the right to abortion that began in Argentina and spread to Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, and other countries. These countries are stamped with vicious, violent oppression of women, but they are also countries where courageous women have taken to the streets, not once, but repeatedly, in thousands, and ultimately millions, demanding the right to legal abortion. They adopted green as their color and the green bandanna as their symbol. Their fury and determination shook entire societies, and could not be ignored. When Argentina finally legalized abortion in 2020, women flooded the streets in furious celebration, joyously waving their green bandannas.

Celebratory march in Argentina for abortion rights.

 

Argentina, 2020: Thousands took to the streets in Buenos Aires for abortion rights.    Photo: AP

Argentina-AP_18067837523477-600px.jpg

 

International Women's Day in Argentina, March 8, 2018.    Photo: AP

In the U.S., hundreds of people and significant numbers of youth rallied and marched in the first mass protests called by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Many of them were stepping into the streets for the first time. They saw what the end of the right to legal abortion would mean for their futures. But with the Supreme Court decision expected to come down in late spring, these beginning outpourings, though spirited and powerful, were far short of where they needed to be in terms of size and reach. Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights organizers found that most people did not even know that the right to abortion was on track to be overturned.

Young women march behind green banner

 

New York City, April 9, 2022    Photo: revcom.us

Rise Up called for a week of action May 8-14 to wake up all of society to what is happening, and build for large mass nationwide rallies on May 14. Then, on May 2, the unprecedented leak of Samuel Alito’s draft opinion signaled the intention of the Supreme Court majority to overturn Roe v. Wade. The stark reality of the situation was sinking in.

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LA Times Abortion rights activists rally in West Hollywood ahead of Mother’s Day

 

LA Times coverage of the Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights protest May 7, 2022   

Within moments of news of the leak breaking, protesters were on the steps outside the Court. Their numbers swelled to hundreds as the night went on, and thousands the next day. On Tuesday, May 3, angry protests erupted from coast to coast—with thousands of young women, many of them in high school, at their core. People demanded that abortion remain legal. On Thursday—school and work walkouts, with green increasingly becoming a symbol of rebellion, broke out; not only in large cities like New York, Seattle, and Chicago, but in Franklin, Tennessee, Flint, Michigan, and Jacksonville, Florida.

New York City students who walked out for abortion rights with sign My Arms Are Tired

 

New York City, abortion rights rally at Union Square, May 5, 2022.    Photo: revcom.us

Jacksonville, Florida, rally for abortion rights, May 4, 2022.

 

Jacksonville, Florida, rally for abortion rights, May 4, 2022.    Photo: Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP.

Students at Ankeny Middle School in Iowa walk out chanting "Abortion Saves Lives."

 

Students at Ankeny Middle School in Iowa walk out chanting "Abortion Saves Lives." May 5, 2022. Photo: Screen grab from KCCI news   

Students at OSU, Oklahoma walk out for abortion rights.

 

Oklahoma: Students at OSU walk out for abortion rights, May 5, 2022.    Photo: Jess Hume-Pantuso

By the end of the week, over 30 locations across the country had signed up to be part of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights “Week of Action,” and to build for massive protests on May 14 around the demand: “Overturn Roe? HELL NO! STOP the Supreme Court from Taking Away the Right to Abortion!”

Fighting to Win

“We walk out of school. We walk off our jobs. We take over the freeways. We SHUT THIS COUNTRY DOWN!”

Sunsara Taylor, speaking in New York on May 5

Now Is the Time to Take to the Streets & Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights—DISPATCH #1

The battle has been joinedand now it must be deepened and widened. Millions more must be brought into sustained protest, through the Week of Action called by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, culminating in nationwide massive outpourings on May 14then continuing non-stop and growing from there. The Alito draft is just thata draftit is not necessarily the last word. And it may not be, if the people relentlessly and repeatedly take to the streets and stay there, stopping business as usual, tapping into and uncorking the fury of millions at the enslavement of women the fascists on the Supreme Court and their Republi-fascist confederates are seeking to impose.

This struggle has taken offnow it must soar. The color green must become a universally understood dividing line throughout society. The cry “Overturn Roe? HELL NO! STOP the Supreme Court from Taking Away the Right to Abortion!” must reverberate from Atlantic to Pacific, north to south.

And as Sunsara Taylor said, speaking to students who walked out in New York City on May 5: “Not for one day of symbolic feel-good venting where then we go back to our regular lives and let this nightmare descend. No! We need to do this relentlessly again and again. There should be no business as usual when that business is on track to enslave, to subjugate, to brutalize, and control women. Hell no!”

Once people in their millions are aroused and determined, what seemed impossible yesterday turns out to be doable.

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